March 7, 2011


I liked a quote in THIS article

“it’s really consumers setting the agenda, not the retailer. “Our customer is becoming much more articulate about needs in this space,” she said. “The best way to do it is to work together as an industry.”–Andrea Thomas, senior VP-sustainability for Walmart, the flagship U.S. retailer of the Walmart Stores.

The industry is changing and with Wal-Mart continuing to stay strong on adapting their policies to more sustainable practices, people take notice and begin to join.

“So, for example, Adam Werbach cites a Wal-Mart worker who walked into a break room one day and wondered why the Pepsi vending machine had a light inside. Knowing that the company was committed to becoming more energy-efficient and sustainable, the worker removed the bulb. Word spread. Eventually, Wal-Mart’s CFO decried that all the unneeded lights be taking out of all the vending machines in the stores. “That one simple effort saved about $1 million in energy costs,” Werbach says. Just as important, Wal-Mart’s PSPs have helped working-class people in the middle of the country to environmentalism–something that I doubt the Sierra Club has been able to do.”–find this quote here

March 7, 2011

Moving forward

A recent group study done by Sustainable Business Oregon found that people are wary of greenwashing and think the movement will advance further in the next few years. Check it out.

“The survey was conducted last November among a targeted group of sustainability-minded professionals and garnered 291 responses.

Not surprisingly, the group found that respondents were bullish on the prospect of sustainable business — even in the face of changing political leadership and a struggling economy. Eighty-three percent of those surveyed said the movement is still gaining steam and will play a bigger or much bigger role in the U.S. economy over next five years.”

While it is important to advertise and promote sustainable brands, businesses hesitate to partake but I agree with the study that it will eventually move forward.

February 28, 2011

The Girl Effect

After discussing the hunger issue in class I remembered this video a friend of mine showed me.  Amazing how a chain reaction occurs.

February 15, 2011

How Stuff Works

No wonder there is an out of control sense of clutter and unhappiness, people focus on THINGS rather then the present.  It is good to be ambitious and strive for the best but to lose your identity to products and stuff creates a chaotic cycle of waste.  The selfish habits that form when always “needing” things you want causes a loss of focus on what is actually important–family, people, work, yourself.

The show on TLC called “Hoarders” is an example of this obsession with material things going in the wrong direction and the outcome it has on the families and individuals involved.  Such a disturbing show and the sad fact is many people live among their own “cherished” possesions that can eventually replace actual face to face interaction and relationships.

February 13, 2011

Green It. Mean It.

Jane Lynch is hilarious, and I was glad to research this ad series preventing the greenwashing craze.  It is one among several based on informing the public to really, Mean it when they speak about Green tactics.

I found this on the Enviromedia website and it was rated a 1.6 on the scale, meaning authentic.

February 11, 2011

Slowly learning what it takes

I am guilty of following the trend of “go green” in more of the negative realm.  In high school I took environmental science, which was one of my favorite classes for opening my eyes to what precautions people should be taking in lifestyle and product choices.  One thing, however, that it did not inform me well on was the power of going TOO green.  I was out, left and right purchasing products with the green logo, cutting out all types of meat for a length of time thinking all animals were factory farmed and I needed to save them (my mom did not hide her annoyance with this change in my diet with the increased difficulty it caused for her to cook).  Greenwashing was not a term I understood until this class, and I was not researching and following up on brands I was purchasing to make sure they were honest.  Eventually, my extreme transformation of living exhausted me and left me feeling unsatisfied for I did not see much difference coming from my change in lifestyle.  Glad to say I calmly decided that maybe going in all extremes was not the best method for making a difference I could keep up with.  The discussions in this class have helped solidify and develop habits that are moderate and can contribute to making a change.  I really enjoyed Kevin Tuerff from Enviromedia.  I appreciate and respond well to hearing that the world is not perfect, but baby steps and small differences are ways to move forward.  The discouraged feeling I felt after making so many changes with little to show is something I want people to avoid and to realize it is unrealistic to do alone.  Werbach’s North Star goal is a wonderful way to set up a problem to find a solution and stay on task and setting small goals (walking to class instead of driving, using a reusable water bottle…etc) are significant ways to improve lifestyle and promote sustainability.  Knowing these small steps add up, is motivating and leaves opportunity to keep brainstorming other steps to take.

February 10, 2011


I think that brands can be personified to represent human-like qualities.  Just as a person’s honesty reflects their integrity, a brand’s promise reflects their credibility.  Communication between brands and consumers creates a bond.  In order to keep this bond positive and create a loyal following, the intentions of the brand need to be honest and transparent. 

Tom Osdoba is the director for Sustainable Business Practices here at the university and uses transparency through public relations.  He connects the brand to the consumer and communicates the sustainable methods that the government, companies and people use.  The communication between these groups is crucial and he discussed the importance of how this affects the relationships between them.  Werbach discusses the need for transparency in advertising.  He mentioned while Skyping with the class that the focus should not be on the advertisement but on the actual product itself, for it to be sustainable.  It shows in the ad if the focus and passion is not directed toward the product and what the intentions are.  He referenced to what he calls “the North Star goal” as a guideline to always begin on the right track to achieve a message.  As one looks to the North Star for direction, this guideline assists to always ask what it is you are wanting, how to get it, and to observe trend changes.  His “Think Blue” mentality offers a broadened awareness to think beyond green, that there are more possibilities. 

Peter Lawrence came to our class and talked about product consistency as a way of transparency.  If a brand is promoting itself as using sustainable practices, it should follow those credentials across multiple areas.  In The Journal of Business & Design @issue: that he passed out to the class, the brand Pangea Organics is discussed as a product that is not sustainably made, but the packaging is 100% made of recyclable or biodegradable materials.  This consistency shows transparency in the fact that the brand is promoting a product that is sustainable as well as a lifestyle that recycles.  By being the leader of an innovative company, Kevin Tuerff knows the importance of transparency through his act of advocacy and social marketing.  He promotes this with his work on the awareness of Greenwashing and providing the Greenwashing Index, and with his focus to the public to know that change lies in the individual.  His “Pay it forward” demonstration is an example of being directly involved with promoting the “walking the walk” attitude he believes.  The transparency of his actions is crucial to his credibility and trust from the public.

            Bottom line; the advice of “don’t be an asshole” should be followed for multiple reasons.  Not only will it further someone down a positive road by radiating actual happiness and optimism, but it also will naturally contribute to a person’s transparency of being someone who is honest and reliable—not in it for themselves.

February 9, 2011

Trends in Sustainability

A brand is more than a product.  A brand embodies an experience, image and a source of values that create an identity for a consumer.  Brands can reflect a glimpse into what the consumer desires and aspires to be.  This is important in understanding how brands influence consumer ideals, as well as how it can reflect those who associate themselves with the products. 

An overwhelming trend in the communications world is the “Go Green” product design movement.  Companies began trying to make their products “green” and improve the impact they had on the environment.  Adam Werbach explains in his speech “The Birth of BLUE” that the environment is taking a toll with natural resources diminishing based on product building and consumption.  The goal for companies to create sustainable products is aimed to improve the conditions and lifespan of the environment.  By thinking in terms of “green” and brands adapting to this change, the craze for sustainable living is desirable and seen as progressively hip.  This eco-friendly brand image began to change consumer’s perception of where a product comes from and what it represents.  This increased awareness and concern for the environment.  Werbach’s work with Wal-Mart to enhance sustainable business tactics is a necessary contributor to further strengthening the trend.  I found that TOMS shoes is a positive “green” brand example.  TOMS shoe brand’s main mission is called “One for One” and this promises to give a child in need one pair of shoes for every pair purchased.  A sustainable brand as well as a positive advocacy.   

As explained before, “Going Green” has dominated the market and raised awareness of issues around sustainable living.  This trend, however, has also created a problem in the accuracy of a brand’s eco-friendly preaching.  “Greenwashing” is a term for companies that promote the label of sustainability while not actually changing or following through with any action.  Their resources, product design and innovative planning do not correlate with their “Go Green” portrayal they are promoting.  As brands have the power to reflect an idea and lifestyle, they also can reflect dishonesty and fraud.  The trend to be “green” and sustainable can be so desired that some companies have taken the step to trying to join the force while not making the sacrifices.  The CEO of Enviromedia, Kevin Tuerff, is a promoter for the awareness of the negative consequences that “Greenwashing” has.  It is important for a brand to be honest in order to keep the loyalty of consumers.  Investigating brands that are promising one thing and failing to follow through is calling them out and giving credit to those that are truthful.  A company that misrepresents an image and values is capable of representing the consumer negatively as well as discrediting their company as a whole.

Companies seeking to change the design and overall creation of a product while remaining honest are solid trends based on business tactics.  Social marketing and movement is a trend that changes the way people think and promotes taking action by doing.  Enviromedia discusses the ability social marketing has on changing the attitudes and behaviors of society and creating an initiative to change lifestyle habits.  “Don’t mess with Texas” campaign was a promotional awareness act that involved using well known Texas native celebrities to promote a lifestyle change to stop littering.  The importance of this trend is to keep society up to date with problems that seem huge on a scale but ultimately are in the individual’s control.

February 7, 2011

Super bowl commercial awareness

I will admit, during the time that most would be watching the Super Bowl, I chose to hit the mall for some good parking, no lines or crowds and surprisingly good deals.  After an amazing Ducks season and school pride and excitement, concluding with the most exciting and nerve racking game ending the season, I didn’t have much desire to watch a game with two teams I knew very little about.  I did, however, make sure to know who won and look up what I find to be the most entertaining parts of the Super Bowl; half time show (must say, Black Eyed Peas performance–not ok) and the commercials.  I was happy to see that quite a few related to this class and showed some signs of sustainability and change.

This advertisement caught my attention, and I liked that it was covering the issue of what is in a car that makes it unfriendly to the earth.

Along with this ad were a few others that I was pleased to see making the prestigious Super Bowl commercials line up.

February 6, 2011

Lithium Batteries, who knew?

My group has decided to work on the use of lithium ion batteries and inform the campus of what this means. 

Lithium ion batteries are used in many commone electronics including:



Cell Phones



….even hybrid cars use this battery.  Bringing up this issue, I was unaware and didn’t even realize I own multiple products that use this battery.  What do I do with it when I’m done with a product?  Either it has been lost or stolen but when I am done with my Ipod, it’s dated or is not working, I store it away.  I am one of the many that do this along with throw away or some careless way to dispose of it. 

NOW: there is another option that should be considered, RECYCLING

Don’t really know why this didn’t occur to me but I guess the idea of recycling AA batteries went into the same category..wasn’t aware I could.

With the project, we are going to build a website and inform people and switch their reflexes from “throw away” as the first option to “recycle”.